Cranberry-Chocolate Macaroons

A crispy exterior gives way to a magnificent chewy mélange of coconut, cranberry and chocolate flavors. Fresh orange zest heightens the experience making these macaroons merry and bright!

Cakewalker Cranberry-Chocolate Macaroons

Of the countless times recipes on ingredient packages have passed my eyes, many gave pause, but this one stopped me in my tracks. This past Thanksgiving, I sent the family out on our big annual shopping spree for the holiday feast. Traditionally the outing includes all members, yet I was unable to attend so the family foraging was sans one. As I surveyed the provisions brought home that day, a two pound bag of fresh Wisconsin cranberries fixed my gaze.

 Naturipe Cranberries

There it was; a recipe for cranberry coconut macaroons centrally located on the back. The ingredient list was relatively short, user-friendly with its one-bowl mixing, and decidedly dreamy in flavor profiles. The chocolate chips were noted as optional, but I knew better making them mandatory. Almost immediately, intuition nudged my mind to one more ingredient not one the list, something I could add for allure, and for a delightful tasty twist―orange zest. Coconut, cranberry, chocolate and orange play so nicely on the palate, my lips drew a smile as I planned a future baking date in the kitchen. 

#40 portion scoopI love to use this #40 scoop for macaroons because it renders a plump mound of dough with a high profile.

Macaroons cooling on rack
My Guinea pigs eagerly assembled after round one: their trustworthy critiques brought valid remarks warranting another round or two of testing. Funny thing about my pigs; they never scoff at subsequent batches for the sake of quality assurance. The initial bake seemed pale in color. One commented the orange might be a tad forward (which I suspected was a result of the zest clumping). After some adjustments in baking duration and the suspension of ingredients in the mix, the macaroon recipe was as I had conjured it to be; that first time I saw it when I was stopped in my tracks.

Cranberry-Chocolate Macaroons by Cakewalker

Recipe adapted from a package of Naturipe Cranberries

Cranberry-Chocolate Macaroons

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Approximately 30 cookies

Cranberry-Chocolate Macaroons

A crispy exterior gives way to a magnificent chewy mélange of coconut, cranberry and chocolate flavors. Fresh orange zest heightens the experience making these macaroons merry and bright!


  • 1 cup rinsed and finely chopped fresh cranberries
  • Zest of one large orange
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 14-ounce bag shredded sweetened coconut
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 325° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, toss the cranberries and flour together, stir to coat. Sprinkle the orange zest over the top of the cranberry-flour mixture and toss to distribute the zest evenly throughout. Sprinkle the vanilla over the mixture. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Using a #40 scoop, place the cookies about two inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the tops, edges and bottoms edges are crispy golden brown. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to three days.


The #40 scoop (sometimes called a cookie scoop) portions dough splendidly. It yields about 1½ tablespoons or about ¾ of an ounce. No such scoop on hand? The cookies may be dropped by a rounded tablespoon onto the baking sheet. I found that zesting the orange and allowing it to somewhat air dry on a piece of parchment prior to adding it to the cranberry-flour mixture prevented clumping and improved distribution. While portioning the cookies, occasionally stir the mixture to re-blend the sweetened condensed milk which may have settled to the bottom of the mixing bowl. Keep an eye on the oven at the 25 minute mark and gauge the doneness to your preference. The macaroons depicted herein were taken to the full 30 minutes, if not one more to achieve that crispy, caramelized exterior, with a perfectly soft, chewy interior. The cookies will sustain this wonderful texture for 6 to eight hours; each day thereafter the crispiness will soften.


  1. Brooks, I have a tendency to put orange zest in nearly everything, so this is right up my alley. I’d probably leave out the chocolate chips because I don’t care for chocolate unless I’m really in the mood for it. (I know, I know. I’m weird.) I don’t think I could live without my #40 scoop. I use the #60 quite a bit, too, but the #40 is the real workhorse. These look soooo good, I’d eat one for breakfast.

    • Brooks Walker says

      I did eat one (or two) for breakfast! I share the same sentiments regarding the scoops; they both live side-by-side in the drawer at the ready. 🙂 Thank you for the lovely comment, and may 2017 bring all you desire.

  2. What a great way to use cranberries! I’ve never thought to combine cranberries with chocolate, but I have a feeling they probably go together as well as cherries and chocolate. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Brooks Walker says

      You’re welcome, Jeff! An interesting affect occurs when cranberry and chocolate are paired: the chocolate tempers the acid in the cranberry and the cranberry boosts the chocolate. Looking forward to what your kitchen brings in 2017. Cheers!

  3. Hi Brooks, These look fabulous! I love anything with coconut and the addition of cranberries is the perfect holiday ingredient. I hope you and yours are having a wonderful holiday. Best wishes in the New Year. Joan

    • Brooks Walker says

      Thank you, Joan, and likewise! 🙂 Give the recipe a run in your kitchen; you’ll surely enjoy them.

  4. I can’t believe I missed this, what a shame, it would have been a lovely (and easy) addition to my last minute baking marathon just prior to Christmas! I love the tip about slightly drying the orange zest to avoid clumping, as I read through your text, I wondered how you would solve that. The balls look festive but they probably wouldn’t be scoffed if served after the holidays, at least my clan wouldn’t!
    The entire family on a shopping expedition? I’d like to see that!
    Happy New Year, Brooks.

    • Brooks Walker says

      Happy New Year to you, Eva! Yes, these macaroons do come together quickly and terrific to enjoy anytime fresh cranberries are around. 🙂

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